In this rare collaboration with NeueJournal, Brigitte creates a series of portraits investigating the most nuanced and directional voices in contemporary art, film, music, and science. An ongoing personal series captured in her Lower East Side daylight studio, these images are underscored by a quiet intimacy unique to the space itself.
When I was three or four years old, I would walk into a room and start singing, or just dancing like a crazy person from one end of the room to another. I was always entertaining my family, or any willing audience. Since both of my parents are involved in the arts, I grew up surrounded by creativity. Sometimes you’re not necessarily conscious that you’re in a creative environment. Being artistic and keeping busy is just a normal part of my family. Growing up around people who have certain standards, especially when it comes to creativity, rubs off on you.
Recently, my father started waking up at six in the morning and going to bed at midnight. He eats lunch and dinner, but other than that, he spends all his time painting. To me, that is a really high example of creative devotion, something I’ve been able to pick up in a more conscious way as I’ve grown. My parents’ main philosophy is, “Whatever you do, try your best.” We almost have a certain unspoken understanding that anything I pursue either personally or professionally, I always adhere to this idea. They’ve just wanted me to find whatever brought me joy in life, to do my best at it and make it happen.
When I was seven, my mom gave me a Beatles record. It was all I would listen to. That was the first time that I remember being conscious of music affecting me in a profound way. When I hit high school, I started taking it more seriously. I don’t think there was a moment where I thought that this is what I want to do as a living, it was more like—I just love doing this.
I’m the kind of person who practices alone. It comes from a sense of security. I don’t want anyone to hear anything before it’s finished. If you’re a performer of any kind, you should really believe in and feel what you’re doing. There’s inevitably going to be a huge amount of emotion that just comes out. That’s what you’re aiming for, right? Sometimes if I’m singing in front of people, I just have to surrender. I’ll get anxiety beforehand, but when I’m actually singing, I feel at ease and I love it.
Photography: Brigitte Lacombe for NeueJournal
Guest Photo Editor: Janet Johnson